Thursday, June 30, 2022

All Blacks wing Leicester Fainga’anuku to debut against Ireland

 

All Black wing Leicester Fainga'anuku

Head Coach Ian Foster said the selectors were excited to name the first All Blacks test team for 2022. 


“This is doubly exciting for us playing at a packed Eden Park for our first test of the year, leading into a sold out Steinlager series.” 

“After what seems like a long time away from home, it couldn’t be scripted better to be back in front of our fans for this match.” 

“Whilst this week hasn’t exactly gone to plan for us, our overall preparation has gone really well.”

In selecting this team, Foster said they’ve had to take into account managing players coming from the Super Rugby Pacific series.

“We’ve prepared rigorously for this match, albeit only having a ten day period together.”

“We have huge respect for this Irish team and can’t wait to run out onto a packed Eden Park on Saturday to kick off the 2022 Steinlager series.”

The team sees George Bower named as loosehead prop, with Ofa Tu’ungafasi on the other side of the scrum.

Scott Barrett wears the number 6 jersey with Captain Sam Cane at 7 and Ardie Savea at the back of the scrum. Debutant Leicester Fainga’anuku gets his first start in the number 11 jersey with fellow Crusader Sevu Reece on the right wing. After getting called up as cover due to Covid affecting players, Braydon Ennor comes into the 23, and debutant Pita Gus Sowakula is also named in the 23, to potentially get his first cap as an All Black.

Named to play his 133rd All Blacks Test Sam Whitelock surpasses Keven Mealamu as the second most-capped All Black Test player of all time (behind Richie McCaw), in what is his 12th season with the team.

There is an incredibly rich history between the two teams which first met in 1905. Saturday will mark the 34th Test between the All Blacks and Ireland but just the fourth played at Eden Park.

Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are the three current All Blacks who played Ireland when they last visited Eden Park in 2012.

The matchday 23 is:

1. George Bower (11)
2. Codie Taylor (66)
3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (44)
4. Brodie Retallick (92)
5. Samuel Whitelock (132)
6. Scott Barrett (48)
7. Sam Cane (77) - Captain
8. Ardie Savea (59) 
9. Aaron Smith (102)  
10. Beauden Barrett (101)
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku* (0)
12. Quinn Tupaea (7)
13. Rieko Ioane (47)
14. Sevu Reece (17)
15. Jordie Barrett (36)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (9)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (25)
18. Angus Ta’avao (20)
19. Pita Gus Sowakula* (0)
20. Dalton Papalii (12)
21. Finlay Christie (5)
22. Richie Mo’unga (32)
23. Braydon Ennor (4)

 *Denotes All Blacks debut


Pigeon Post News




Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Tourism New Zealand - Spring and Family deals now open for submission

 FOR TOURISM PROVIDERS IN TASMAN

 AND NELSON





Tourism New Zealand are inviting all Qualmarked operators to load deals for their upcoming Spring, Families and Gifting campaigns.


Spring campaign is launching in both New Zealand and Australian markets and operators can submit a deal to participate in both markets activity.


Domestic Families campaign will launch in August - operators can submit Family suitable deals and packages now. This campaign is a trial, enabling operators to participate in year-round Domestic family marketing activity. Qualmark members will have the chance of featuring in paid media, with selection made from those who submit early into the campaign.


Gifting campaign this is always on, and amplified during key retail moments such as Fathers Day and Christmas. Operators can load vouchers into the Gifting Voucher Hub at any time for the duration of 2022.


THIS LINK IS FOR MORE INFORMATION AND HOW TO LOAD DEALS:  https://www.newzealand.com/int/utilities/tourism-business-database-deals-for-campaigns/






Donna Adlam

International Marketing Lead












PIGEON POST NEWS



Saturday, June 25, 2022

News in Brief. UPDATE TODAY —Nanaia Mahuta UNDER FIRE

News in Brief 

Nanaia Mahuta under fire 


Nanaia Mahuta

1/ Under fire for criticising Roe v Wade ruling despite voting against NZ's abortion reform



The US Supreme Court has struck down the Roe v. Wade ruling  — and reaction has been fierce.


The Minister for Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta is being criticised after she called the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade "draconian" despite voting against abortion reform two years ago. 

In 2020, the Abortion Legislation Bill, which took abortion out of the Crimes Act, was voted in with 68 votes in favour to 51 against. It meant abortion was no longer a crime in Aotearoa. 

It was a conscience vote which meant MPs could vote based on what they believed, not on party lines. 

Of the 46 Labour MPs who voted, 37 voted for and 9 voted against. The MPs who voted against it were Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki, Nanaia Mahuta, Damien O'Connor, MPfor West Coast-Tasman, Greg O'Connor, Adrian Rurawhe, Jenny Salesa, Jamie Strange, Rino Tirikatene, and Meka Whaitiri. 

Of the 55 National MPs, 19 voted in favour and 35 voted against. The nine Green MPs all voted in favour along with ACT leader David Seymour. 


2/ New Seats



DONATED SEAT BY MENZSHED MOTUEKE



Two new seats have been installed recently along Saxton Creek within Saxton Fields.

From the tag on the sides they appear to have been donated by the Menzshed Motueka. Thank you Menzshed Motueka they are very comfortable after walking Vincent around the creek.


3/ Elections

The Local Body Elections are coming, so if you are thinking of standing now is the time.

Both Tasman and Nelson Councils have nomination forms availably between the nomination period 15 July 2022 and 12pm 12 August 2022.

Tasman District Council is running a candidate information evening at 5.30pm on Thursday 21 July.

4/ Building fire, Motueka

Saturday, 25 June 2022 - 12:58pm | Tasman Police


Police are appealing for information from the public, following a building fire on Greenwood Street, Motueka yesterday morning.

Police, alongside Fire and Emergency New Zealand, are working to establish the circumstances around the fire, which is now being treated as suspicious.

Police would like to hear from anyone with any information about the fire.

We are particularly interested in speaking with anyone who was in the immediate vicinity of the fire, between 6:45am and 8:30am on Friday and saw anything out of the ordinary.


5/ Inflation

I’ve glimpsed our hyper-inflationary future.


The Bank of England says it expects inflation to rise to “around 11%” this year in England. 


Commentators reckon "they're a bit behind the curve there, chaps. My Planet Normal co-pilot, the economist Liam Halligan, has been saying for several months that inflation is already well into double digits. Who knows, if the complaisant bankers were to lift their bespectacled gaze from their mathematical models and pop down the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread and a few other bits they might see what everyone who lives in the real world sees. Prices are rising…"

The same thing with inflation is happening in God's own. You can't shut down countries and fork out millions of dollars without some consequences that will come home to roost. Our 6% inflation could very well be much higher and shooting towards double digits. All those who shop well know it.


6/ An ailing Queen hands more power to Prince Charles to act on her behalf:

Queen's Platinum Jubilee official photo supplied


Prince Charles gives blessing to Commonwealth countries that sever ties with Royal family.


The Prince of Wales gave his blessing on Friday (Saturday NZT) to Commonwealth countries that want to sever ties with the Royal family, insisting that such change can be made “calmly and without rancour”.


Prince Charles, 73, told prime ministers and presidents gathered for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, that whether members wanted the Queen as head of State or become a republic was a matter for them alone.


His comments come at a pivotal time with several countries, including Jamaica and Australia, poised to follow Barbados in removing the Queen as head of state.

There are fears that many others will become republics when the Prince becomes King, having maintained ties with the Royal Family only out of respect and loyalty to the Queen.


7/ Worlds biggest cruse ship the Global Dream 11’s Maiden Voyage to a Scrapyard

Global Dream 11

What was set to be the world’s largest curse ship by passenger capacity is being sent to the scrapyard - before it ever had a chance to set sail.


The 9,000-passenger, 20-deck vessel, Global Dream II, was designed with an outdoor waterpark and a plush cinema, but has never left the dock.

Unfortunately, you read that right. The Global Dream II is heading nowhere but to a scrapyard instead.

According to a report by The Guardian, the lower hull of Global Dream II is scheduled for disposal. Construction of the cruise ship has almost been completed in Germany. 

Why is this so? The ship's builders, MV Werften, filed for banktruptcy in January. Per the report, "the ship needed to be moved out of MV Werften's Wismar shipyard by the end of the year because the yard had been sold to Thyssenkrupp's naval unit, which plans to build military vessels there."

A report by Interesting Engineering notes that, given the bankruptcy filing, administrators have been trying to monetize MV Werften's assets.

Global Dream II's hull has been completed with engines already and "the insolvency administrators are looking to sell the engines and machine parts, after which the hull will be sold at scrap value," the report adds. 


8/ Oslo shooting

Two people killed and many injured in attack at gay bar

Oslo Norway (Late Saturday our time) Twitter


Two people have been killed and more than a dozen others injured in a mass shooting near a gay bar in the Norwegian capital Oslo, according to the police.

The shooting took place early on Saturday in the downtown area of Oslo, the police said.

The shooter reportedly opened fire right outside a popular gay bar called The London Pub and it extended to a neighbouring club and nearby streets.


“Two people are confirmed dead,” the Oslo police department said in a tweet. Some 14 people were taken to hospital, several with severe injuries, police said.

A male suspect believed to be the sole perpetrator was apprehended, police told reporters. The identity of the suspected has not been revealed. 

Norway's Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and prime minister Jonas Gahr Store visit the scene of the shooting at the London Pub in Oslo.

UPDATE:

Terrified revellers at a gay bar in Oslo hid in a basement and desperately called loved ones as a gunman went on the rampage, killing two people and injuring 21 on the day the city was due to celebrate its annual Pride parade.

Authorities said the suspect, a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, was believed to be a radicalised Islamist with a history of mental illness who had been known to intelligence services since 2015.

The suspect will be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation in the coming days as part of the investigation, police said.

The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday, with victims shot inside and outside the London Pub, a long-standing hub of Oslo's LGBTQ scene, as well as in the surrounding streets and at one other bar in the centre of the Norwegian capital.

The deceased were two men in their 50s and 60s, police said.

"Everything indicates that this has been an attack by an Islamist extremist," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

"We don't (yet) know if the queer community was the intended target, but we know it is a victim."

Bili Blum-Jansen, who was in the London Pub, said he fled to the basement to escape the hail of bullets and hid there along with 80 to 100 other people.

"Many called their partners and family, it felt almost as if they were saying good-bye. Others helped calm down those who were extremely terrified," he told TV2.

"I had a bit of panic and thought that if the shooter or shooters were to arrive, we'd all be dead. There was no way out."

Rainbow flags symbolising the Pride community were on prominent display across Oslo this week, but Saturday's planned parade was cancelled on the advice of police.

"Last night the rainbow was coloured black," said Anette Trettebergstuen, Norway's minister of culture and equality and herself a prominent campaigner for LGBTQ rights.

'Crying and screaming'

While the official parade was called off, several thousand people held a spontaneous march in central Oslo, waving rainbow flags and chanting in English: "We're here, we're queer, we won't disappear."

Norway's Crown Prince Haakon, his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit and their youngest child, 16-year-old Prince Sverre Magnus, later joined the prime minister and other officials to lay red and white roses near the London Pub.

"We must protect the right in Norway to love whomever we want," Haakon told reporters.

The suspect was detained minutes after embarking on the shooting spree, according to police, who said they believed he acted alone. Two weapons, including a fully automatic gun, were retrieved from the crime scene, they added.

The man has declined to be interrogated by police, his lawyer John Christian Elden told public broadcaster NRK.

Witnesses described the chaos that erupted inside and outside the London Pub, which has been open since 1979.

"Many people were crying and screaming, the injured were screaming, people were distressed and scared - very, very scared," said Marcus Nybakken, 46, who had left the bar shortly before the shooting and returned later to help.

"My first thought was that Pride was the target, so that's frightening."

Journalist Olav Roenneberg of broadcaster NRK said he was in the area at the time and saw a man arrive with a bag, take out a gun and start to shoot: "Then I saw windows breaking and understood that I had to take cover."

Widespread condemnation

European leaders condemned the shooting, as did the White House.

"I am shocked by the heinous attack on innocent people in Oslo," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

"No-one should have to fear for their life or well-being simply for who they are."

French President Emmanuel Macron, writing in both French and Norwegian on his official Twitter account, expressed his sympathies. "We stand stronger against hate if we stand together," he said.

John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council, told reporters on board Air Force One the Biden administration had been in touch with Norway to offer condolences and support.

"We're all horrified by the mass shooting in Oslo today targeting the LGBTQI+ community there and our hearts obviously go out to the all the families of the victims, the people of Norway, which is a tremendous ally, and of course the LGBTQI+ community there and around the world," he said.

Norwegian security authorities raised the country's terrorism threat assessment to its highest level following the attack, in which 21 people were also wounded, 10 of them severely.

The police, who are not normally armed, will carry guns until further notice, it said.

Other major events in the capital went ahead as planned on Saturday, police and organisers said, including a large outdoor music festival and a soccer match between the women's teams of Norway and New Zealand.

The shooting took place just months after Norway marked 50 years since the abolition of a law that criminalised gay sex.

The Nordic nation of 5.4 million has lower crime rates than many Western countries, though it has experienced hate-motivated shootings, including when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.

- Reuters





Pigeon Post News

















Three Waters Reforms
 Continues - Tasman District Council Providing Assistance - HAVE YOUR SAY!

 


Tasman schedules Water Entities Bill information webinars and drop in sessions 


Tasman District Council is helping both Rural and Urban Communities in Tasman, through the next stage of the Three Waters Reforms to enable you to have your say.  Here is a media release from Council:

To help our community understand and provide feedback around the current phase of Three Waters Reform, Tasman District Council is providing webinar and drop-in opportunities for the public to attend.  

The first of several pieces of legislation giving effect to the Government’s intention to establish a new model of three waters service delivery is being considered by Parliament. 

The Water Services Entities Bill provides for the establishment of four Water Services Entities to manage the delivery of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater services currently managed by 67 local authorities throughout the country.  

The Bill had its first reading on Thursday 9 June and was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee for the next stage of the legislative process. This stage is where the committee, made up of MPs will consider submissions and make recommendations back to Parliament. 

You can follow the bill through the parliamentary process here

The Select Committee process is the main opportunity for you to have your say on the Bill. The Select Committee has called for submissions, closing on 22 July. You can make a submission by going to www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws.  

We would like to hear your views on the Bill before developing our submission – as well as providing you with the information to make submissions of your own.  

To support this, we are holding two public webinars on Monday June 27 and Tuesday July 5 – both beginning at 7pm. These webinars will be recorded and made available for viewing afterwards. 

We have also planned drop-in sessions at Richmond Library on Tuesday 28 June and Motueka Library on Thursday July 7 between 4.30pm and 7.30pm. 

We have space for you to share your views on the Bill on our website tasman.govt.nz. If you have already provided your views to councillors, please note these views will be considered as part of our submission.   

With more information and clarity now available since our initial webinar in September 2021, these upcoming webinars will provide an updated high-level summary of the Government’s proposals, around the Water Services Bill, while also explaining how you can make a submission to the Government and provide a forum for you to share your views or concerns with us.  

We want to remind everyone that the Three Waters Reform is a Central Government-led process.  

With further legislation around the wider reforms coming in the months ahead, especially around costs, delivery and affordability of future water infrastructure and services, we want to continue enabling the community to have their views passed on wherever possible. 

As well as this, we want to ensure our own feedback is influencing the best outcome for Tasman and the well-being of our community. 

Links to join the webinars and further information can be found at tasman.govt.nz/three-waters-reform-proposal .


Pigeon Post News

Friday, June 17, 2022

Tasman District Council - Outstanding Community Service awards 

 

From the left Tasman District Council Mayor Tim King,  Mr Peter Carmody and Waimea-Moutere Ward Councillor Anne Turley.  Photo: Tasman District Council

Outstanding Community Service awards 



In Tasman District Council series recognising exceptional members of the community who have been awarded one of our Outstanding Community Service awards, today we meet Peter Carmody.


Peter arrived in Brightwater from Christchurch in 1988 working for NZ Police and has been an active member of the community ever since – he’s been on the Brightwater Community Association for more than 20 years. He was nominated for his award by Councillor Anne Turley.


In the late 80s and into the 90s he ran a group called the Sunday Clinic helping men who had problems reading and writing. Anne says his guidance helped them master skills which saw the men grow in confidence and prosper.


Throughout the mid-90s Peter worked with disadvantaged youth, gaining sponsorship to enable them to participate in sport when their families couldn’t afford the costs themselves.


He coached J.A.B rugby and served on the Wanderers Rugby Club committee.


Anne says Peter has a long-term involvement in the community’s ANZAC Day commemorations and was instrumental in moving the Brightwater service off Lord Rutherford Road to the much safer area inside the Memorial Gates at Brightwater Hall.


She says he managed to get a stainless-steel flagpole donated and a memorial seat placed in the vicinity so people could sit and reflect at any time.


A couple of years ago he set about raising funds for the purchase of a community sound system and in just three months raised $10,000 – Peter now assists in setting it up at community events and ANZAC services.


During a stint stationed in Murchison after the Kaikoura earthquake, Peter saw a need for better lighting for the vehicles used by the first responder emergency medical teams. Another fundraising scheme was launched and he quickly rustled up $3,000 to purchase and fit the lights.


Anne says Peter has demonstrated his community spirit over many years in multiple areas of the Tasman District.


Tasman District Council Communications.


Pigeon Post News

editorpigionpostnews@gmail.com

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Drop-in funding sessions Tasman: Murchison, Richmond, Golden Bay and Motueka

 

Logo: Tasman District Council

Event by Tasman District Council 
All welcome

If you are a community organisation take note:


Tasman District Council, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Rata Foundation are on the road and travelling to Motueka, Richmond, Murchison and Tākaka to support community organisations who are looking for funding.


We will be there to answer any questions you have about the different funding schemes and provide you with the resources needed to make a funding application. Nelson City Council will also be attending the Richmond session.


If your community organisation needs funding and support, come along to:


Murchison Sport Recreation and Cultural Centre: Wednesday 22 June, 12pm – 2pm.


Richmond Library: Thursday 23 June, 10am – 12pm.


Golden Bay Rec Park Centre: Wednesday 29 June, 12pm – 2pm.


Motueka Library: Thursday 30 June, 10am – 12pm.


For more information contact Lani Evans at lani.evans@tasman.govt.nz.



Pigeon Post News

editor.pigeonpostnews@gmail.com

Tasman cave closes to save spiders

DOC has closed a cave in the Ōparara Basin in Kahurangi National Park for a year to protect rare spiders which live in it.


 The Nelson cave spider/Spelungulae cavernicola. Photo: DOC


Crazy Paving Cave is home to the rare and unusual Nelson cave spider/Spelungulae cavernicola. With a leg span of 13cm and a 3cm long body it’s New Zealand’s largest spider.

Senior Biodiversity Ranger Scott Freeman says surveys have shown spider egg sac numbers decreasing in the cave which may be due to the number of human visitors.

“The number of spiders seen have actually increased from about 2019 onwards, possibly due to a decrease in visitor numbers associated with COVID. However, only one egg sac has been seen since 2018." 

“Breeding is the real long-term driver of the population so we want to close the cave to see if this will allow breeding to improve. Closing the cave means we can monitor the spider population’s response to the removal of human visitors.”

Nelson cave spiders are also found in Golden Bay.  They are protected by the Wildlife Act 1953.

They live near cave entrances rather than deep in caves and dine mostly on cave wētā finding their prey by vibration.

The young are born and raised in egg sacs which hang from the cave ceiling of the cave almost like small golf balls. Each sac can contain up to 50 small spiders.


The young are born and raised in egg sacs Photo: DOC

Nelson cave spiders are thought to be directly descended from the earliest true spiders and may be the missing link between primitive spiders - from the time of Gondwana 350 million years ago - and modern spiders. 

Scientists have estimated that baby Nelson cave spiders take two to three years to mature. Most other spiders complete their entire life cycle in a year.

Crazy Paving Cave will close for visitors from (1 June 2022) for 12 months.

Futher information

Crazy Paving Cave gets its name from its floor of ancient, fragile, fine deep sediment which has dried out slowly, cracking and curling into what looks like large, distorted paving stones.

It’s a dry cave where the sediment has stayed in place unchanged for hundreds of years. It’s like a time capsule holding information about what life was present when water once washed into the cave.


Pigeon Post News

editor.pigeonpostnews@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

As winter bites, NZ urgently needs a COVID action plan for schools – here’s how to do it

 Covid in schools 

Amanda Kvalsvig     Senior Research Fellow, Department of Public Health, University of Otago


With protections against COVID-19 transmission incomplete in early 2022, the government’s policy of keeping schools open through the Omicron outbreak has left communities exposed to widespread infection and disrupted learning.

With winter here, an action plan for schools is urgently needed to protect children, staff and their families from COVID-19 and other seasonal respiratory infections.

During term one, the Ministry of Education advised schools to reassure parents that transmission in school settings would be low. COVID-19 in children had been described in news reports as an “asymptomatic or mild illness” for most, with full recovery likely after a few weeks.

These assurances seemed overly optimistic. Children aged 5 to 11 only became eligible for their first vaccine dose two weeks before term began, key ventilation and monitoring equipment had not been delivered, child-sized respirator masks like the KF94 were not widely available, and younger school children were not required to wear masks.


Furthermore, the international evidence was clear that longer-term symptoms of COVID-19 infection such as long COVID were a real and rising concern, and that Omicron was spreading in school settings.


Twitter RNZ@radionz

“Class cancelled: Staff absences 'through the roof' at schools due to illness surge”


Putting school communities at risk

Schools around the country have been cancelling classes because of a surge of Covid-19 and winter illnesses among staff.


This decision to prioritise school attendance without also providing strong protections and transparent outbreak information has caused significant educational disruption. It has exposed students, staff and families to both immediate and longer-term risks, including long COVID in children and adults.

These disruptions raise serious concerns for the well-being of the country’s pandemic generation now and in the future.

Lack of government leadership has placed an unnecessarily heavy burden on school staff, who have had take on a pandemic management role in addition to their many existing commitments, and on Māori and Pasifika households who are more at risk of severe outcomes.

And, as the recent Human Rights Commission inquiry reports, immune-compromised or disabled people have been put at risk and adversely affected by the lack of support in education settings, including children being unable to attend school.

The current situation is unsustainable. Children with persisting symptoms from Omicron infection are already being seen. Teachers are reported to have higher rates of infection than the general population.

Teachers in the UK are reported to be leaving the profession, citing lack of protective measures in schools and the impact of long COVID on their capacity to work. These reports should be ringing alarm bells in New Zealand.

People working in schools in the UK  have revealed they have been left with no choice but to leave their jobs after lack of support for Long Covid effects



 Twitter  inews.co.uk

“Teachers suffering from long covid plan to quit 'in droves' over 'shocking' treatment

People working in schools have revealed they have been left with no choice but to leave their jobs after lack of support for long Covid effects.”




The change we need to see

Schools play a vital role in protecting the well-being of children, staff and families. An action plan would ensure the right resources and information are in place.

Even during the worst infectious disease outbreak in a century, this would mean children can thrive and learn, school staff are safe and supported, and the risk of bringing infections home to older and younger family members is as low as possible.

We have previously recommended a range of measures to uphold children’s right to health and education. A key point is that resources and support should follow children and whānau, rather than the reverse.

At the height of an outbreak, some children may be better off in school, others at home. The highly supportive, collective leadership in kōhanga reo shows how much is possible when the pandemic response is centred on people rather than on the school system.

The action plan for schools should provide protection from COVID infection and reinfection and from winter infections such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The plan should prioritise children’s well-being, including supporting mental health and access to learning.

A co-ordinated child data system should be established to close some critical knowledge gaps about direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on children and their families. This knowledge will enable government, schools and whānau to use the best available science to protect children’s well-being.

Schools as role models

Sending a child into school during an outbreak requires a high level of trust from caregivers that the school environment will be safe. Families have been given repeated reassurances, but the rhetoric hasn’t been backed up with effective action.

Accurate and transparent communication is now needed to restore trust. Currently, school communities lack the information needed to make good risk assessments. For example, many are unaware of long-COVID risk or of reinfection occurring just weeks after an initial infection. And there is no systematised way to inform parents about local case numbers.

Schools should be models of science-informed best practice for their communities. They can empower students to contribute to the pandemic response by modelling key values, such as wearing a mask to protect others.

Building on the success of sun safety and hand washing messaging, schools can lead a transformative change in indoor air quality, with students as citizen scientists helping to monitor CO2 levels in classrooms.

This generation of children will experience recurring pandemics and epidemics during their lifetime. It’s vital they understand how effective public health measures can be.


Winter 2022 and next steps

The immediate focus for winter should be on a “vaccines plus” approach that aims to minimise infectious disease transmission in schools. Specific aims include:

Optimal indoor air quality: this includes heating, ventilation and filtration with real-time monitoring to guide action.

Routine (ideally mandated) mask use indoors: high-quality masks provide protection against emerging COVID variants and other respiratory infections, regardless of immune status.

High vaccination coverage: intensive health promotion from trusted community leaders to ensure families are well informed and to counter disinformation; and urgently addressing the high inequities in vaccine coverage.

Effective isolation and quarantine: supporting students and staff to stay at home if they are symptomatic, if they are close contacts of a COVID case or other infection, or if they need to shield whānau during a major outbreak.

Adequate sick leave and testing provision: for all school staff (teaching and non-teaching) to enable them to stay home while infectious and to support a full recovery, with aligned rapid testing strategies; these measures also apply during outbreaks of RSV, measles, meningococcal disease or influenza that are increasingly likely as border protections are removed.

An epidemic management contingency plan: the education system needs to explicitly plan for short circuit-breaker closures when case numbers reach defined thresholds, with a shift to high-quality remote teaching and additional community support as needed.

Monitoring and evaluation: data collection is needed to identify what is working well and what needs improvement, and to guide operational decisions such as intensifying ventilation if CO2 levels are above certain thresholds, or temporary closure if infections and absenteeism reach certain levels.

Timely information, communication and support: school communities need to see evidence that their well-being is paramount and the goal is not simply protecting the status quo.

Overall, the Ministry of Education’s approach needs to shift from insisting on in-person school attendance to supporting the well-being of children, staff and families wherever they are.

Pigeon Post News


TASMAN RUGBY UNION - NEWS

  STEVE MITCHELL APPOINTED AS CEO OF TASMAN RUGBY UNION Tasman Rugby Union is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Mitchell as its n...